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Dec 07 2012

The Latest New Bloggers at FtB!

We’ve recently recruited to our network some infamous folk of web renown. If you are curious, check them out! (Yes, I’m behind on current events…still haven’t caught up on things since my return from England and my birthday and sundry unexpected chores like replacing my streetside sewer lateral cleanout cap, which someone stole…who steals a three dollar sewer pipe cap? Anyway…)

The trio (no, quarto!) of the new includes the notorious Non Stamp Collector, of You Tube prominence, an Australian in Japan. Welcome to the 21st century global economy. My favorite sample…

What Christians bringing up this issue and this example [of the holocaust and moral relativism] fail to realise is that with a Christian view of objective morality, you are forced to do exactly the thing that you’re suggesting would make someone appear to be a brainwashed sicko at complete odds with civilised society. You can’t imagine living in a world in which genocide could be considered moral, and you make up an analogy pointing out how misguided excusing such a massive slaughter would be, yet in the next breath, you will excuse genocide carried out by an Old Testament hero (probably Joshua) who was simply Hitler with a different ideology and less effective weaponry!

(from What if Hitler Had Won?)

Did I mention the 21st century global economy? Because next up is Avicenna, a british ex-hindu atheist and medical student studying in India, whose blog A Million Gods is now hosted in our golden cradle. My favorite sample…

Just because something ends doesn’t mean that it has no meaning. Why do you have pets? Unless you are an avid tortoise hobbyist (I like to call them Cheloniaks) most of your pets will die before you. You may as well shoot them right now.

(from Doubts About Atheism? Fifteen Questions for Atheists Answered)

And almost last but not least is Miriam Mogilevsky, author of the activist blog Brute Reason. My favorite sample is actually in effect her description…

I’m a psychology student, a Russian Israeli immigrant, an ethnically Jewish atheist, a queer sex-positive feminist, a bleeding-heart but skeptical progressive, and a proud and unashamed survivor of a few mental illnesses. In other words, I’m pretty much everything your mom warned you about.

(from Hellooooo FtB!)

And actual last but not least (I somehow left him out of my original post!) is Paul Fidalgo, at Near Earth Object, communications director for the Center for Inquiry with diverse skills and interests and skeptic cred. My favorite sample…

I don’t imagine that Bob-Fucking-Dole would feel that he had to wheel his ailing carcass to the floor of the Senate to plead with his own freaking party to back the treaty if he thought the obstacle to ratification was just how spooked Jim Inhofe might be about U.N. boogeymen. I bet you Dole knew that his real adversary was going to be the giant sacks of cash strewn about the halls of the Senate office buildings.

(from My Own Conspiracy Theory about the Disability Treaty)

So there you go. More are to come, but these four are the latest!

Hopefully I’ll get back to blogging more serious deep thought stuff myself next week.

20 comments

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  1. 1
    James DeFeo

    How does FtB decide on who joins the community of bloggers? Just curious.

    1. 1.1
      Richard Carrier

      Current bloggers on the network nominate people (there is already a huge list) and we have a subcommittee that makes inquiries and interviews and vets prospects according to criteria (like quality and frequency of writing, atheism, workplace values, diversity goals, etc.), asks for objections to the best prospects from the remaining bloggers, ascertains which nominees would actually be interested, and decides which prospects to put to a vote. Then each blogger on the network gets one vote. Majority rules.

  2. 2
    Chuck

    I heard Thunderf00t is available.

    1. 2.1
      Richard Carrier

      : P

  3. 3
    John Morales

    I hope you’ve noticed Paul Fidalgo at Near-Earth Object.

    1. 3.1
      Richard Carrier

      And Paul Fidalgo!

      How’d I miss that? Facepalm.

      Revised! And I posted on this again just to be sure no one misses him.

  4. 4
    maxdwolf

    Um, Near-Earth Object?

    1. 4.1
      Richard Carrier

      Error corrected.

  5. 5
    Matthew Fuller

    I would like to offer you a small donation for your blog. Do you accept donations through pay-pal? I don’t mince words – this is a small donation coming from someone with student loan debt, but you deserve it.

    1. 5.1
      Richard Carrier

      Yes. My public email address is my paypal account. You can also help in other ways that can mutually benefit you: see my support page (which includes my email address); for example, you can do some of your last minute Christmas shopping (and future birthday shopping) on my Amazon store (it costs you nothing extra, but I get a small commission from Amazon). A less cash-costly way is just to talk my books up everywhere it’s convenient to, thus drumming up sales and buzz.

  6. 6
    Matthew Fuller

    Ah, it’s convenient that you have an Amazon store page. I will make my donation that way. The primary reason I wanted to donate was because of your recommended reading list of ancient Greek books. Your blog post is a convenient starting point for my research.

    I am trying to write a never tried category of fiction: historical science fiction. The science fiction part comes from anachronistic knowledge, which in the setting of the book is revealed by God. God’s chosen people is another race of hominids. In this imaginary world, God doesn’t reveal moral laws but knowledge to his chosen people, which in turn is used to conquer human beings and enslave them.

    There is a lot more too it and of course I would love to get feedback on the basic premise. The goal of the book is to demonstrate all of humanities revealed religions have a human origin through principles explored in the book. And I want to keep the notion of god as naturalistic as possible, without using any common science fiction tropes. All the conquering is done using normal human ingenuity, not magic or even God supposedly commanding natural events.

    My plan is to have the heroes rescue humanity through superior science and technology. But to do that they have to overcome a cultural brainwashing that keeps them enslaved – this notion of eternal, glorious mystery, and many other techniques to keep humanity in chains – a common thread of religion is to revere mystery. I am found of Yudkowsky’s saying, “What can be destroyed by the truth should be.”

    These are just some of the basic ideas, but the basic concept could go in many different directions. What I really want is a significant degree of realism.

    Btw, I love to get feedback. I know you have been active within the atheist community, debating Christians. I think another useful way to win the culture war is to create a new kind of culture, and this is best accomplished through story telling and rationality training.

    1. 6.1
      Richard Carrier

      Fascinating. Depending on what kind of realism you want, you may have to include the mistakes, too. A lot of bad reasoning and wrong conclusions were arrived at, too, even by the same guys who were super clever and got a lot else right. That’s of course just as true of Galileo and Newton, we just don’t talk about their mistakes and biases and dumb ideas as much as we probably should.

      You will get a good idea from reading the top works in ancient science. I have a whole Amazon store category for that subject (Richard Carrier Recommends: Ancient Science). If you want to economize, I would recommend Rihll’s general book on the subject and Irby-Massie’s sourcebook. Those together will give you a taste of all sides. But you will find Rihll’s book on the catapult a goldmine of ideas and inspirations (she covers science and its intersection with technology, but also the social facts surrounding both, which are valuable for a novelist). It’s a really large book, but it’s well worth the read.

      Technology will be important. But you can glean a good idea of what they could do from my talk on “From Robots to the Moon” and my past articles on Ancient Science (for realism, it’s important to consider how much technology the ancients actually had, and how the lens of Christianity has distorted what we think we “know” about the pagans, e.g. “Flynn’s Pile of Boners“). Good books on ancient tech are generally very expensive (but if you want the best, you want the Oleson handbook).

  7. 7
    Matthew Fuller

    Oh man, thanks for the reply. I’ve got this stat paper to finish in order to graduate (due the 20th – way behind). Just wanted to respond to acknowledge you. Thanks for the comment and advice.

    It’s an idea that is going to be very hard to execute on. What I might try to do is team up with some early pioneers in virtual reality games, once I get the basic plot line figured out. I don’t imagine a lord of the rings like trilogy, but an online RPG sounds like a perfect fit, especially if it was running on computers 20 or 30 years from now. Argument could be a major part of gameplay by then. Also, the environment is being conceived as ‘god’. Which makes perfect since for VR, a 1 to 1 fit with VR game design. Do you see the analogy? The VR world is designed, and this fictional world of the book claims the world itself is god.

    But I am jumping the gun…back to writing a very boring paper.

    In all honesty, religion wouldn’t be so bad if we were to get rid of the supernatural. That the first step, and a decent compromise on a tough question.

  8. 8
    John E

    YES! More people to throw out the term mysonginy, without even considering for a moment what it means (from what it appears, it is when you don’t put a ‘+’ infront of your atheism).

    1. 8.1
      Richard Carrier

      Mysonginy? What is that? Ginny Wheasley’s love of the philosopher Myson?

      And what on earth are you responding to here?

  9. 9
    John E

    FreeThoughBlog, because free thought is ok. Unless you openly express it, then it requires moderation.

    1. 9.1
      Richard Carrier

      Freethought does not mean anarchy.

      Nor does it mean unfettered use of other people’s property.

  10. 10
    John E

    Being a grammar/spelling Nazi (is it ok to take this piss out of people who have dyslexia?) is pretty consistent with what I have seen from your responses to other people’s comments who are “CHUD”, or “the enemy”. It’s quite embarrassing that somebody who is a professional, and somebody attempting to start some kind of movement based in being reasonable and rational, would actually resort to such an infantile tactic (professional, minus the professional attitude perhaps?). Although, it is what I would expect of somebody who [or is part of a group that] claims that using the word ‘cunt’ promotes sexism, but has no problem with belittling people with mental disadvantages in order to throw out an uncalled-for insult at somebody who simply disagrees with you. I am sure you will *ahem* ‘rationalise’ that hypocrisy away, but those of us who really do value being reasonable and rational will see straight through you.
    I am not responding to anything as such, but just expressing my feelings on how you run your blog, and how you respond to people who have even the smallest disagreement with your movement. And whilst free thought does not mean anarchy, it is hard to see somebody as unpleasant and underhanded as yourself not abusing the moderating system. You may hide behind the guise of being kind and compassionate; reasonable and rational, but I am not convinced of your true intention, otherwise I think you would display a much more open-minded and welcoming attitude towards those who share your values, but simply do not want to associate with your movement for their own rational, legitimate reasons.

    1. 10.1
      Richard Carrier

      I have no idea what you are responding to here.

      You apparently have posted this comment in the wrong place. The word “CHUD” is not used here; if you want to talk about whether it was applicable where it was used, then post there. Otherwise, I actually have argued the opposite position on the use of slurs than you attribute to me. So it does not seem you are very familiar with my blog or how I run it.

      As far as having “rational, legitimate reasons” for not associating with some movement or other you haven’t even identified or defined (I assume you mean Atheism+ but I don’t know what you even think that movement is or is about), whose values you claim to share, I already stated a more open-minded and welcoming attitude to exactly the sort of person you claim to be. So yet again it does not seem you are very familiar with my blog or how I run it.

  11. 11
    John E

    Sorry, I didn’t realise that there was a reply button next at the bottom of each comment.

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